Trip Date: September 30 – October 2, 2015
Cordillera Traveller’s 3 day/2 night tour from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile to Uyuni, Bolivia (or vice versa) via the Uyuni salt flat is one of the most economical and efficient ways to see the sights of the Altiplano desert. You can also do this trip as a round trip out of either Uyuni or San Pedro de Atacama.
Booking the trip through their website was relatively easy. I received a response to my online reservation request the next day and was able to pay the 50% deposit through a secure online system with a credit card. The Chilean payment system they use does, however, require following written instructions that they email you.
Once we were in San Pedro de Atacama, the starting point for the tour, we went to Cordillera Traveller’s local office to pay the balance in cash and go over the details of the trip. We were told to bring 5 liters of water each and snacks. There is no drinking water supplied anywhere during the trip. We could drop it off at the office ahead of time if it was more convenient.
My daily posts of the trip describe the border crossing and daily sights, activities, meals and accommodations. Be aware, however, that food and accommodations are clean but very basic. One woman in our group was very disappointed in the salt hotel, especially the fact that they did not provide towels. Bring your own towel and toilet paper.
The tour across the desert is a lot of driving with 6 passengers in a Toyota Land Cruiser. The two seats in the back are less comfortable and have a restricted view. We rotated positions so that everyone had a chance at the better seats. Generally the guide/driver is also very accommodating and will stop if you want to take a picture.
Our guide was a charming young Bolivian that spoke fast, hard to understand Spanish and only a couple of words of English. Although there was not much of a language barrier for basic communication, for more detailed information about the sights and trip it’s better to have someone in the group who can speak some Spanish.
Overall the trip went as advertised and the salt flat was one of the highlights of our trip to South America.